|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 8monkey Labs||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Phantom EFX||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Unfortunately, the jenky production values don't stop there. As you complete missions, you will be awarded with points that can be used to "upgrade" your character. However, what you're actually upgrading are your weapons, á la Resident Evil 4 and 5. But rather than upgrading specific guns, you're simply improving clip size, rate of fire, accuracy, and reload time for rifles or pistols across the board. What's more, upgraded weapons don't perform noticeably better, except for increased clip size. Not only does this seem contrived, but it provides players with no substantial reward for getting through chapters, and there are no bonuses for doing so in style.
If you're an Xbox 360 owner, you'll instantly recognize how rough the game is due to the fact the Achievements were likely slapped together in about five minutes. This is the kind of game that rewards you with 300 points just for beating it on the most difficult setting. The only Achievement I enjoyed obtaining was getting 25 points for punching a horse (a feat more difficult than besting the game itself). The Achievement for getting through a combat mission without using lethal force was ridiculous, especially considering it can be achieved on a number of maps.
Which leads us to our next complaint: kills are meaningless. Besides being bored to tears from shooting at the umpteen clones, on a couple of occasions I had enemies disappear right before my eyes. I can't tell you how jarring it is as a gamer to be hunting down the enemy, plinking their domes with well-placed shots, just to see them vanish from existence 10 yards away because the program decided it was time for the A.I. to fall back. Speaking of artificial intelligence, both enemy and friendly A.I. are appalling - there is seemingly no reason behind any of their actions. Furthermore, while bringing futuristic weapons to the American Civil War, WWII, and Pompeii is initially fun, it soon becomes tantamount to shooting fish in a barrel. Virtually every difficult situation presented to the player is handicapped by the use of automatic weapons, machinegun emplacements, or some insane rocket gun. Finally, when you are forced to use archaic firearms, the reloading mechanic that has you time a single button press is tedious and unnecessary. These missteps combine to take all of the pop out of the FPS experience.
While controls are, for the most part, standard FPS fare, they have two major flaws. In order to crouch behind cover, you'll have to hold the button down. This makes aiming inefficient, and it eventually gets your hands tired. Second, there is no way to sprint. While this does make things interesting when you're being chased by futuristic police cops, it is a shooter convention I rely upon for getting into strategic positions. The lack of it here is often frustrating, especially on the highest difficulty level, when foes are insanely accurate and seem to be firing machine guns at you.
Darkest of Days also features very little content - there is only a single-player story mode to wade through that has very limited replay value. This game features a great concept, but poor execution does its worst to keep the game's appeal as limited as possible. Those of you that are very forgiving may have some fun with this game, but anyone now permanently jaded by games like Gears of War and the recent Call of Duty titles should give this title a wide berth.
CCC Editor / News Director